At least one team apparently plans to take advantage of the league’s little-known blackout loophole for its pair of preseason games.
Both Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com and Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union have indicated that the Jags plan to pay 34 cents on the dollar for any unsold non-premium tickets in the preseason, in order to ensure that non-game games against the Dolphins and Falcons will be televised live in the Jacksonville area.
With season-ticket sales ending on Saturday and the franchise 3,000 seats away from selling out the non-premium tickets, the Jaguars will have to write a check for any unsold tickets in order to ensure that the preseason games will air live within the blackout radius.
“Wayne Weaver is graciously doing what is necessary to televise the two
Jaguars home preseason games locally because he wants the fans to see
his team so they might like what they see and want to buy tickets,” Ketchman writes. “Wayne
has explained that he will not give the games away, so to speak, in the
regular season. He’s taking the risk, of course, that fans will call
his bluff, but he didn’t seem to be bluffing last year when seven
regular-season home games were blacked out.”
But the question becomes whether the Jags would fork over 34 cents on the dollar to the visiting teams’ pool if only, say, 1,000 unsold tickets remain for a regular-season game. Now that the cat is out of the bag regarding the ability of teams to write a check in order to televise a game that hasn’t sold out, look for the Jags to face plenty of pressure to make it happen — especially since the team recently got a $4.15 million gift from Jacksonville via the City’s decision to drop its 25-percent share of the naming-rights deal at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.